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How To Get A Texas Teaching Certificate

Becoming A Teacher

Micah Fikes
Micah Fikes on August 9, 2017

Teaching is one of the most important professions in our society. Taking part in the training of our next generation to achieve their maximum potential is a fulfilling and rewarding experience. According to the Texas Education Agency (TEA), public schools in Texas employ over 350,000 teachers, and they would love to have you join the team.

There are 3 major ways through which you can obtain a Texas teaching certification; an alternative certification program, through a university program or through transferring your out-of-state certification.

Here is a breakdown at the routes to certification that new teachers in Texas took for the 2015-2016 school year.


Program Type 2015-2016 Percentage By Type
Alternative Certification 12,553 49%
University Undergraduate 8,366 33%
Out-of-State Transfers 3,643 14%
University Post-Baccalaureate 1,082 4%
Total For All Program Types 25,644 100%


Today we will look at how each route functions.


Through an Alternative Certification Program


The most popular route to becoming a teacher in Texas is through an Alternative Certification Program (ACP), with almost half of new teachers coming through this route. This route is popular with career changers or recent college graduates from non-education majors (e.g. math, science, english, etc.).

ACP’s provide a pathway for those who already hold a bachelor’s degree or valuable work experience to be able to obtain a Texas teaching certificate.

texas teaching certificateThese programs (offered by universities, community colleges or other companies sanctioned by the state) allow you to obtain training in the area and grade level that you would like to teach, based on your previous qualifications.

Select an Alternative Certification Program

Choose a program that is accredited by the state and offers training in the area that you would like to teach. Ensure that you meet the necessary admission requirements, based on your bachelor’s degree, GPA or the required amount of work experience (most programs require a minimum of 5 years of full-time work over the previous 10-year period).

Apply for a Probationary Certificate

The probation certificate offered to students of alternative certification programs is called a one-year probation contract. You can apply for this temporary certificate through TEA, and it allows you to teach as an intern for one year as you continue to satisfy your program requirements.

Take the required Certification Exam

The next step is to take the required certification exams (either the TExES or the ExCET). These exams assess your knowledge and ability to teach in the classroom.

Apply for a Standard Teaching Certificate

You must have met all the requirements of the alternative certification program, received a recommendation, and passed the required certification exams before you apply for a standard certificate.


Click Here to Learn "How To Become A Teacher With A Texas Alternative Certification Program."

Through a University Program


Accredited university programs in Texas offer the option of pursuing a bachelor’s degree while working towards earning a teaching certificate at the same time. Typically, a bachelor’s degree is required to teach in Texas. This route is very popular with young students that know that they want to be teachers (particularly elementary teachers) prior to attaining a bachelor's degree.

Choose a program from an accredited Texas institution

The first step is to make sure that you select an accredited program that you want to join. Decide which area you would like to teach and check if the university program offers training in that area. You should also determine if you are eligible for the program based on high school grades, skills obtained and other requirements set by admissions.

texas teaching certificateMost university programs will provide the opportunity to train for future positions with student teaching opportunity. When you’re ready to begin student teaching (typically in the final semester of your senior year), you are typically paired with an experienced teacher that you will observe and work with.  

Factors such as cost, where the university is located and the length of the program are also important to consider.

Apply for a Probationary Certificate

If you have secured an internship, you can apply for a probation certificate that will allow you to begin teaching as an intern or a teaching assistant. The application is made through the Texas Education Agency and must be backed by a recommendation from the university program.

Take the required Certification Exam

The next step is to take the required certification exams (either the TExES or the ExCET). These exams assess your knowledge and ability to teach in the classroom.

Apply for a standard teaching certificate

Upon successful completion of exams and program requirements, you can apply for the standard teaching certificate. Obtaining this certificate is based on a recommendation from your university program as well your performance in the certification exams.


Through Out-of-State Certification


If you already have a teaching certificate from another state, you can have it reviewed for eligibility for a Texas teaching certificate. The review process occurs through the TEA website, where you apply for review along with the required supporting documents.

The review process requires the submission of your current teaching certificate, official transcripts, and work experience. As part of the review process, The Texas Education Agency assesses the tests that you previously took and determines if they are comparable. If you are missing any relevant tests, you need to take them as part of your application.

During the review, you can also apply for a one-year, non-renewable teaching certificate that will allow you to begin teaching while your standard certificate application is under review. If it is determined that you meet all the requirements, you can obtain a Texas teachers standard certificate.

There are some very specific educational areas throughout the state including, STEM, bilingual education and special education, where there is a shortage of qualified teachers.

If you are wondering whether becoming a teacher is right for you, we have created a few articles that discuss whether becoming a teacher is a good career move as well as how much you can expect to earn as a Texas teacher to aid in your research process


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Topics: Becoming A Teacher

Written by Micah Fikes

Micah is the Director of Curriculum & Technology. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in British Literature, from the University of North Texas and a Master of Arts in Teaching, from Louisiana College. In his previous career, Micah served for 14 years as a banker and bank manager. For the majority of this period, Micah managed the Downtown Fort Worth location of Frost Bank. In 2005, Micah finally surrendered to his true calling to be an educator. After a brief, but fulfilling term teaching high school English at Flower Mound High School in Lewisville ISD, Micah went to work for the family business, training teachers.

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